While attending the Arley Country Fair I spotted two young ladies walking through the crowd with a Kerry Blue Terrier on a retractable lead.
It stopped to sniff a couple of Labradors sitting quietly by their owner’s side. The terrier’s body language suggested trouble, which the girls ignored, until it suddenly attacked one of the Labradors. The Lab owner swiftly moved away and the girls strolled on allowing their terrier to forage ahead while they laughed at his aggressive
“He loves fighting big dogs,” one of them boasted.
“Yes, he’s a little devil,” replied the other endearingly as though the dog had just splashed through a puddle.
By allowing their dog to attack another then ‘approving’ his behaviour with laughter they were actually teaching him that fighting was perfectly acceptable. They were literally training him to be a dangerous dog.
When your dog starts to attack other dogs, cats, chickens, birds, livestock it is on a very slippery slope. Once it inflicts damage to another animal it will gain the confidence to follow through and that is something no pet owner wants.
Most belligerent dogs are bluffers who use a show of aggression to dominate others but once they learn to bite they’ll do so whenever conflict arises.
It’s very important to recognise the early signs of aggression: growling, baring of teeth, etc. and deal with it immediately. Do not laugh it off or make excuses, leave your dog in no doubt that such behaviour is unacceptable.